Named after the State Library’s first librarian, Augustus Henry Tulk, cafe Mr Tulk is a dependable Melbourne resident. It’s roomy, informal and has reliably good breakfast and lunch.
Formerly the State Library’s locker room, the space – designed by Dion Hall at Projects of Imagination – plays on the Reading Room theme. A central communal table with mounted lights invites study and laptops. The inside retains an antiquarian feel, with high ceilings and arched windows, while outside, wooden benches and umbrellas make for casual dining. The design is simple but spacious, making for a modest, inviting place to while away the time with a paper and a good coffee.
Menu-wise; offerings span toast and jam to corned-beef hash, toasted flat breads, gnocchi and interesting egg-centric options. The portions are decent and reasonably priced and there are also plenty of gluten-free and vegetarian options. If you fancy something sweet, Mr. Tulk makes delicious tarts and flourless pear, almond and caramel cake.
There can be confusion about whether to expect table service or to just order at the counter. But there’s rarely a queue and waiters will happily add or change orders once you’re seated. Mr Tulk also does knock-off drinks on Fridays.